Acute care refers to health care provided for a life threatening condition. It often involves the use of life support or other intensive care services. The type of care provided after a period of acute care is known as post-acute care.
The function of post-acute care is to provide for the medical and emotional needs of people who are well enough to be out of a traditional hospital setting, but not well enough to return home.
In some cases, post-acute care is temporary and continues only until the patient has recovered enough to be discharged. In other cases, the need for post-acute care persists throughout the remainder of the patient's life.
Some hospitals offer post-acute care or long-term care floors. Some patients leave hospitals and receive care in skilled nursing facilities. Returning home with the aid of a home health nurse may also be an option.
Post-acute care involves helping a patient perform daily routine tasks such as eating, bathing and dressing as well as administering medications and monitoring vital signs. Often, post-acute care involves rehabilitation, such as physical or occupational therapy.
While post-acute care is beneficial and necessary, it is also expensive. The average cost of a private room in a skilled care nursing home is $192 per day or more than $70,000 per year, according to Helpguide.org.